Synthesia changing my DP's tone

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Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 10-11-13 11:47 am

Hello, my first post after a long break. Recently, I got a new piano, the Casio PX-5S. It has a direct USB connection port, so there's no need for my old and cumbersome MIDI to USB adapter. I wanted to have the piano play the track I was not playing, for example the left hand part while I'm practising the right hand part, or that track.

It worked, but there's a problem. Synthesia always changes the tone of my piano, to GM Piano 1, while I want to use ConcertGrand. Is there a way to let Synthesia send the track to the piano without changing the tone? Does Synthesia examine the tones in the piano and switches the piano to the closest match of Synthesia's own Grand Piano sound, or does the piano itself examine what Synthesia sends and chooses the best match for that (MIDI) data, out of it's own built-in voices or tones?

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jimhenry
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Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 10-11-13 1:54 pm

You might be able to resolve this issue by setting the piano track from Sounded to Muted in the Advanced View and relying on the Local playback by your piano for what you play. That might make the piano a bit more responsive to your playing too.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Nicholas
Posts: 12237

Post by Nicholas » 10-11-13 2:22 pm

Something else to try, too: in the Advanced section of Settings, change "Instrument Change Messages" to "Filtered-out".

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 10-12-13 3:23 am

Thanks guys. Jimhenry, does the piano play the track, if it's set to muted? Anyway, will try both suggestions the next time I'm at the piano and let you know how it goes.

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 11-05-13 4:51 am

A late update on the subject. I tried the "Filtering out" option. All it did was changing the sound to some bass guitar sound, but Concert Grand was still the option on my piano. That is, Synthesia did not change the tone on the piano, but played a different tone than the one chosen on the piano.

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jimhenry
Posts: 1776
Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 11-05-13 8:42 am

Pianotehead wrote:Thanks guys. Jimhenry, does the piano play the track, if it's set to muted? Anyway, will try both suggestions the next time I'm at the piano and let you know how it goes.
Sorry for the late response. I just saw your message.

When you press a key on your digital piano two things can happen:
1) The piano plays a sound for the key you pressed based on the settings you've made on the piano
2) The piano sends a MIDI message with information about the key press on the MIDI Out (USB) port

There usually is an option to turn off the #1 behavior of playing a sound, often called "Local Off".

The piano will play a sound based on MIDI messages received on the MIDI In (USB) port. Those MIDI messages can select the sound to be played and well as the notes.

Nicholas prefers setting "Local Off" and letting Synthesia send the MIDI messages to your piano to make the sounds for the keys you press.

The other way of doing things is to set "Local On" and setting the piano track from Sounded to Muted in the Advanced View of Synthesia. This stops Synthesia from making the sounds for the notes you play which you do not need because the piano is doing that job.

I know that is a long explanation and a bit technical. If you can wrap your head around it, you'll have a better idea of the possibilities so you can choose what works best for you.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 11-05-13 9:11 am

Thank you jimhenry. I'm not home right now, but I'll see if I can play with the settings of the piano, when I get home. I don't completely understand though, what Local off means. Let me know if it means what I think it means (next paragraph.)

Does it mean that the local sounds/tones/voices of the piano are turned off and an external MIDI controller (in this case my laptop) controls or manipulates the synthesizer (or sound equipment, not sure if I'm using the right words) of the piano to play what the external MIDI controller wants the piano to play?

And the sound would still be coming from the piano?

If the Local off setting means, the voice is not changed from Concert Grand to GM Piano 1, as is now happening, then it has served its purpose. For the record, Synthesia is not my only software doing this, Notation Composer also changes the tone to GM Piano 1. I can actually change back to Concert Grand in Synthesia (don't know about NC yet) but it's a bit tedious to have to scroll through the voices for every repetition of a song or a part of a song.

Edit: I can testify that GM Piano 1 is a horrible tone. :lol:

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jimhenry
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Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 11-05-13 1:04 pm

Maybe this will help:
KB_Local.png
KB_Local.png (7.99 KiB) Viewed 5079 times
A digital piano is two devices:
  • a keyboard that provides note input
  • a sound generator that provides sound output
When the piano is used as a stand-alone instrument the keyboard is connected to the sound generator to produce sound when you play the notes.

The keyboard notes are also provided on the MIDI Out port as MIDI Messages.

The sound generator is also connected to the MIDI In port and produces sound when it receives MIDI messages.

The keyboard is connected to the sound generator through the Local switch. When Local is ON, the keyboard is connected to the sound generator.

When Local is OFF the keyboard is not connected to the sound generator and playing a note will not produce a sound. However, the keyboard notes are still provided on the MIDI Out port as MIDI Messages. If you connect a plain MIDI cable from MIDI Out to MIDI In, the sound generator will produce sound when you play the keyboard because the keyboard is sending MIDI messages to the sound generator.

If you connect the MIDI Out and the MIDI In to a computer, a computer program like Synthesia can read the MIDI messages from the keyboard and send MIDI messages to the sound generator. The computer program might just copy the MIDI messages from the keyboard and send them to the sound generator. Or it can alter those MIDI messages in any way it wants to create the MIDI messages sent to the sound generator. The possibilities are almost endless.

However, what I am suggesting is really quite simple. Set Local ON, which it probably is if you can play the piano on its own. Then use the "Show Advanced" view for a song you want to play and change "Sounded" to "Muted" for the "Played by Me" parts. This should allow you to control what you are playing as though Synthesia wasn't there but allow Synthesia to watch your playing and to play any parts marked "Played by Synthesia" using your piano's sound generator.

Now that I think about it, did you change "Music Output" in the Synthesia "Settings" to use your piano via the Midi Out? If "Music Output" is still set to the default Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth (on Windows), it will sound pretty bad and it will play through your computer speakers.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 11-05-13 2:59 pm

I can't see a Local On/Off option, neither as a button nor an option in the operating system (so-called) of the piano.

However there is a Panel Lock option. It's on by default but by setting it to off I managed to prevent Synthesia from changing any settings. Actually that also means locking the piano so no settings can be changed, be it a human user pushing buttons or another device requesting system changes. That is OK by now, as I'm almost only using the Concert Grand piano sound, when practising.

Thank you for your help and explanations.

Edit: Since you asked, I had music output set to both the Microsoft Synth and Casio USB-MIDI.

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jimhenry
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Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 11-05-13 4:33 pm

What you want to try are Synthesia settings:

Disable Microsoft Synth

Change "Played by Me" tracks from "Sounded" to "Muted" in the "Show Advanced" view for the song

I strongly suspect that you are hearing the Microsoft Synth and that is the bad sounding piano. As far as I can tell, Synthesia is most likely playing the Concert Grand Piano on the Privia.

The Casio Privia PX-5S does have a Local Control setting. However, you want Local Control = ON and it almost certainly is already set to that.

From page 39-40 of the manual:

Press the SYS SETTING button
Select "MIDI>Ent" and then press the ENTER button
There is a setting for "Local Control" ON or OFF
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Nicholas
Posts: 12237

Post by Nicholas » 11-06-13 12:23 am

For what it's worth, I'm hoping to have Synthesia 10 start managing the Local setting for keyboards that implement that particular message. It will be an option you can disable if you don't want it, but during play Synthesia will send a "Local Off" and anytime you pause, quit, or otherwise suspend the falling notes it'll switch back to "Local On" automatically.

This doesn't help you today, but it might in the next release. :D

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 11-06-13 4:27 am

Just tried setting Local Control to Off. No sound from the track Synthesia was supposed to play, the bass track in this case. It didn't seem to matter whether Microsoft Synth was set as the extra music output or not. I always had Casio USB-MIDI set as output, so I either had one (Casio) or two (Casio + MS) music outputs.

I tried again with Local Control On and both tracks sounding, neither set to muted. Synthesia played it's track without changing the tone. Maybe the software has non-artificial intelligence and now it knows what I want. :lol: At least I don't know what I did differently now.

In any case if Synthesia changes the tone, I can always set the piano to Panel lock. A good thing this happened, now I've started learning how to operate my new piano! Still a lot more to learn, with all those stage settings, layering and splitting.

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jimhenry
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Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 11-06-13 1:38 pm

Nicholas wrote:For what it's worth, I'm hoping to have Synthesia 10 start managing the Local setting for keyboards that implement that particular message. It will be an option you can disable if you don't want it, but during play Synthesia will send a "Local Off" and anytime you pause, quit, or otherwise suspend the falling notes it'll switch back to "Local On" automatically.
You need a description of this feature that doesn't use the term "Local". Almost nobody understands Local Off.

How about "Synthesia manages playback of notes played by me"?

If you implement this, I renew my request for the alternative of "Synthesia does not play notes played by me" for those who rely on Local On.

I can't decide if the middle ground of Synthesia plays notes played by me but doesn't attempt to control Local playback is needed. Is there anyone who has a need for the Synthesia playback of the notes they play and keeping Local On?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Nicholas
Posts: 12237

Post by Nicholas » 11-10-13 9:09 am

jimhenry wrote:You need a description of this feature that doesn't use the term "Local". Almost nobody understands Local Off.
Agreed.
jimhenry wrote:If you implement this, I renew my request for the alternative of "Synthesia does not play notes played by me" for those who rely on Local On.
I was already starting to reconsider this given one or two of the details of the track-splitting stuff.

Basically it's a merging of the "Played by Me/Synthesia" concepts with the Left/Right/Both hand indicators that you can drag around. That is, now that every song is eligible to use the "simple" view, it will become the archetypical Song view. What is known as the "advanced" view today will be more of a Song Configuration type of screen. By focusing their meanings instead of providing two sets of controls that accomplish the same thing, I'm hoping things will get a lot easier to understand.

The balancing act comes in when I think of the one or two rare scenarios that will no longer be easy and how to keep them easy instead.

All of that said, splitting the "Notes" option on the Output Device settings page into "My Notes" and "Background Notes" would be pretty easy and add some value.

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